Technology and Innovation for Public Safety

The public safety sector is constantly looking for new and better ways to protect cities, infrastructure, businesses, and citizens. What should not be overlooked is the potential of technology to prepare, anticipate, and respond to these needs.

In terms of adopting new technology, public safety is considered to be moving at a slower pace than other industries. However, more and more stakeholders are turning to technological innovation for public safety. They are starting to realize its potential in bringing intelligence, situational awareness, and operational efficiency to public safety. In this article, we’ll explore digital transformation in the security industry and what to expect in the future.

Table of Contents

 

What is Public Safety?

The goal of public safety agencies is to protect all elements of society, such as citizens, the economy, and critical infrastructure. The framework ensuring the welfare and protection of society consists of police and emergency services, city or government departments, transport operators, and community safety groups.

The efficiency of these agencies depends on multiple factors. As a way to develop a security roadmap and address all relevant aspects, we can define an incident management flow. Here is a sequence of activities to proactively solve public safety issues: 

  1. Protect – It involves being prepared for physical and cybersecurity issues far in advance. This is a crucial step to ensure key community resources form a strong support system. 
  2. Prevent – To anticipate emerging threats, agencies need to carry out more precise actions, such as analytics, integration of data, sensors, and smart networks.
  3. Detect – Set up routine monitoring to have real-time security threat detection and immediate results. Establish a clear operational picture of what could go wrong and what kind of response would be needed in that case.
  4. Respond – This is a two-part process. During an incident, maintain communication flows so that the right departments and specialists have all the information they need to react appropriately. Then, after the incident, public safety agencies need to prioritize resource allocation for investigating the situation.

 

Why We Can’t Imagine Public Safety Without Technology

Public safety is a constantly evolving issue. At this point, we can identify four main factors shaping our security landscape:

  • Threats (crime and cybercrime targeted at government, enterprise, and people);
  • Budgets (government funding, business models, and maximizing budget utility);
  • Digital transformation (development of digital cities and an increase in Internet connectivity); 
  • Usage of most modern security technology – IoT devices, powered up with AI analysis.

As you can see, two out of the four factors are associated with a surge in digitization. The right public safety technology gives agencies better opportunities to coordinate human and technical resources and manage their operations. 

Traditional security technologies have made a shift from analog to digital systems. As a result, many security solutions have become more reliable, relatively portable, and have fewer latency-related issues. 

One of the technological advances that has already penetrated the public safety sector and continues to evolve is communication systems. It includes high-speed Internet connectivity, wireless devices and applications, and voice-only communications.

 

The Role of AI and Machine Learning in Public Safety

The digitization of security operations leads to a more networked and data-led approach. AI and machine learning help you make sense of data, identify patterns, and make decisions with minimal human intervention. 

The benefits of having more information on the ground and drawing conclusions through AI are applicable to:

  • Government and public-sector institutions
  • Public safety equipment vendors
  • Police and emergency services
  • Regulators

AI is a concept that any kind of organization should be looking into regardless of its current effectiveness (since it is still quite new). In the context of public safety, it’s crucial to make sure we possess as many resources as we can to achieve the best outcome. 

Because of automated data-intensive processing assignments, certain resource constraints get resolved. It includes everything from interpreting large amounts of text to displaying situation overview in an easy-to-comprehend manner. This reduces the burden of some tasks for people and frees them for higher impact work that requires human intelligence and reasoning. 

 

Technology and Public Safety: Pros and Cons 

Does technology help us achieve more and better results using fewer human resources? Benefits supporting this statement include:

  • More information with less human resources – The success of security operation relies on the ability to communicate seamlessly and access relevant data. Cutting-edge technology helps first responders, as well as other participants, to gather more intelligence and respond to situations faster.
  • Provides cost efficiency – The limitations of government budgets force agencies to be innovative. New digital technologies are efficient in reducing operational expenditures.
  • Fosters security innovation – As said earlier, public safety services need to constantly employ better, more advanced techniques. Since crime and associated challenges are evolving, agencies need to catch up.   
  • Brings convenience – Technology opens up opportunities that seemed impossible but are now easily done. Digital devices revolutionize the way we approach public safety; for example, police officers can access huge databases just by talking to the application. 

On the other hand, we can expect certain hardships that come with the increased use of technology. Here is what we should take into account and try to minimize:

  • Relying on signal strength – Technology relies heavily on access points, especially when it comes to mobile devices. Remote locations may not have a signal, so responders will not be able to rely on technology at all times.
  • Lack of personal contact – There are some risks of misunderstandings, miscommunication, and assumptions. While this also happens with face-to-face communication, it’s something worth noting.
  • Privacy concerns for police and citizens – Data breaches have an immense effect. All applications and gathered data should be protected with appropriate security technologies and strategies.

 

The Latest Trends in Public Safety for 2020

There are many reasons for tech companies and emergency services to foster clear communication and collaboration. As tech companies are implementing new functionality in their products, these advances are well-intended for the reality of emergency services. Below are several directions we expect the public safety tech sector to move further into.  

The Internet of Things (IoT)

The growing network of IP addressable sensors and electronic devices is projected to continue further. They are powerful yet cost-effective, and provide more opportunities for police intervention and decision-makers.

IoTs are also known to improve situational awareness, which is essential for this type of work. Plus, they ensure better officer safety and offer more insight during investigative operations. This utility is what makes us believe that they will continue to penetrate security services.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The pure collection of data is not enough. So, interpreting vast amounts of data is of great importance. Instead of manually reviewing it, AI can take over that task. AI can synthesize data by acting on user-configured thresholds, which means it’s not going to roam around freely. It operates based on specific objectives and addresses information overload in a way that is managed by people.

AI can generate analytics, such as specific locations and times of occurrence so that human staff can then make their own conclusions. Also, in 2020, AI-powered apps will only get better, which will make mobile devices more useful to police and other services than ever before. 

More Data = More Transparency

Law enforcement will need to be more open with the public as to which data sources they are using, as well as when and why they are being used. The range of options for technology use is likely to increase as web-connected technology proliferates. Therefore, agencies will need to make information transparency and the way it’s processed their top priority.

 

Alan’s Solutions for Public Safety

Advanced technologies help police and fire departments and other institutions capture and exchange relevant data. These tools combine information from multiple sources to form a full picture of the situation. 

Our solution aims to close the gap in communication for first responders. This optimized productivity is what the Alan voice AI-powered platform aims to achieve. Through quick voice integration into mobile and web applications, you can enable the following services to perform at the top of their abilities:

  • Law enforcement
  • Fire stations
  • Private security 
  • Airports
  • Schools
  • EMS

For example, police departments can receive real-time updates using voice-operated software by Alan. Officers can have convenient access to information with consideration to priority incidents, traffic reports, city plans, and maps, etc. The system can be configured to help with crisis and disaster management, such as determining the closest location of an incident, which crews are available, and other important data.

Instead of wasting time fiddling with a radio, first responders can simply tap an icon to get all of the essential incident details. Plus, they aren’t distracted since the information is given through voice. This interface can address all their needs while syncing its words with visuals on the screen when there is no time to lose. 

Businesses that are interested in implementing voice into their application have two options: let the Alan team take over the task or request the SDK so that their developers can take care of it. In any case, it should be a great opportunity for you to enhance your workflow.

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